While it may seem like blasphemy that an air conditioning unit can be used to actually increase horsepower, it's true. Dodge has implemented such a process to help the 2018 Challenger Demon create its immense 840 horsepower, but how exactly does it work?
Thankfully, we can always count on Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained to dissect topics like this. The Dodge Demon is, in fact, using engine power to run the air conditioning system—and to create additional power. The secret sits within the Demon's power chiller, which is one component of the entire car's cooling system.
While the typical components remain, such as an intercooler, air conditioning condenser, and other mechanical parts, the power chiller makes the difference.
Hot gas refrigerant travels through the condenser, where it then becomes a hot liquid refrigerant. From there, it's sent to an expansion valve which then sends the cooled gas to either the cabin or to the power chiller. It's one or the other—the system does not cool passengers and create extra power.
For the extra power, the system creates a cold liquid coolant that is sent to the intercooler, which further cools down air being sent to the engine. How well does it work? The power chiller is able to reduce the air's temperature by 50 degrees. In turn, the cooler air creates the additional power with cooler air. While the power chiller may cost the Dodge Challenger Demon engine power run to actually run it, the cooler, denser air outweighs the loss and creates more power.
Got it? Make sense? We're not the experts, but Fenske is. Have a look at the video and the detailed process above.